Flip Benham accuses cameraman Mark Lyon of being being godless and supporting abortion.Two months ago I blogged on a strange religiofascist crew from out-of-state who decided to protest in front of a mosque in Bridgeport, Connecticut, screaming “Islam is a lie!” at it, among other things. At the time, I had never heard of their leader, Flip Benham, and assumed him to just be some run-of-the-mill hyperreligious nutjob with a lot of time on his hands. But authorities in North Carolina have known who he is; they prosecuted him for harassing doctors and he was recently convicted of this, as station WSOC TV-9 in Charlotte, NC explains (WebCite cached article):

A local pastor was found guilty Monday of stalking a doctor who performs abortions. He was sentenced to 24 months probation and plans to appeal.

Reverend “Flip” Benham posted wild west-style “Wanted” posters which gave the doctor’s name and home address. Benham said this was a free speech issue, that he has a constitutional right to speak his mind.

Now, I was surprised by a few things about this story. For example, the Connecticut Post had reported back in August that Benham was from Dallas, Texas (cached article). That turns out not to have been the case … he is, instead, from Concord, NC. I also had not realized he’s an ordained minister, of the Free Methodist Church, but he is. I also had not realized he was a founder of Operation Rescue … I’d thought that had Randall Terry had been its founder.

Quite aside from all of this, however, Benham is obviously off his rocker. And now, he’s a convict. His defense for what he did is rather thin:

Benham replied, “Nobody has gone and killed because [he or she] saw a poster. That is most absurd and logical fallacy that there possibly could be.”

First of all, as a ferocious religionist and fascist at heart, Benham wouldn’t know what a “fallacy” was, if one smashed him in the face and knocked him to the ground. Second, that Benham included the doctor’s face and address makes evident his intention to intimidate the doctor, at the very least. The Flipster may be free to practice his religion, but that freedom is not a license to harass or intimidate others, and intimidating or harassing speech is not protected by the First Amendment.

Hat tip: Lordrag at iReligion Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: marklyon.

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  • Jesus Christ! What's the matter with these people? 😉

  • PsiCop

    My son,

    These are ones of whom I spoke long ago: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"

    You DID ask this of Jesus Christ, didn't you? <img src='https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif&#039; alt=';)' class='wp-smiley' />

  • Oops! I meant to address that comment to Charie Crist, the governor of Florida. My mistake. 🙂

    "Charlie Crist! What's the matter with these people?"

    Thank god I'm an atheist. 😉

  • PsiCop

    Unfortunately I know little about Crist, except that the ardent Right considers him unacceptably Leftist. (How true this is, I have no idea.) So I will have to pass on impersonating his reply here. 🙁